Yesterday morning I got up early and went for a walk. There's a beautiful hiking trail close to my house here in Boulder. It wraps up the back of a mountain, and as you ascend up the trail you get a fuller and fuller view of the city below and the landscape in the distance.
During that particular outing, my mind was pretty busy sorting through details of my upcoming move, rehashing a heated conversation that I had had the night before, and believing my inner dialogue of doubt around a big writing project I'm working on.
Then I looked up. Rather than just seeing the dusty gravel underneath my feet and the periwinkle wildflowers beside me, I saw the sky. Cobalt blue, unfettered, and vast: the sky instantly silenced my chattering mind. I realized that I had been applying such a microscopic view to my life; and, in an instant, I remembered that there was so much more to who I am and what this life is about.
This experience inspired me to practice a "sky meditation" that I have learned from several different Tibetan Buddhist teachers over the years. It's so simple and effective; and I'd love to share it with you:
1. Choose a time when the sun is not too bright in the sky. Early morning and evening are best.
2. Sit down outside or near a window. You can also lie down on the grass. If you're sitting down, make sure that you have mostly sky in your line of sight.
3. Relax your gaze, relax your body, and let your jaw drop open slightly, as if you in a state of quiet awe.
4. Sit for 5 minutes, letting your awareness mix with the spaciousness of the sky. You're not looking for anything, or trying to get anywhere. You're just gazing at the sky.
5. Can the sky remind you of anything about who you truly are, beyond your thoughts and feelings?
6. Blink whenever you need to and remember to never look directly at the sun!
7. When you've finished, close your eyes , take a few deep breaths, and prepare to transition into the rest of your day, keeping that sense of vast awareness with you during all of your thoughts, conversations, and actions.